Ogilvy Exchange: Technology; Social Media and Diplomacy

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 3, 2010 – Ogilvy Exchange's latest lecture series focused on national security, with a discussion about social media, new technologies and their impact on 21st Century statecraft.

The June 2nd discussion featured Jared Cohen of Secretary Clinton’s Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State. Cohen’s portfolio includes counter-terrorism, counter-radicalization, technology and innovation and the Middle East. The event was recorded by and will air on C-Span. The Ogilvy Exchange series is a periodic thought leadership forum, hosted by Ogilvy Washington.

Mr. Cohen knows something about the intersection of technology and statecraft. When Iranians last year took to the streets to protest the results of their election, Mr. Cohen contacted Twitter, asking the social media behemoth to delay scheduled maintenance of its global network that Iranians were relying on to voice discontent. Since then, Mr. Cohen has been working with Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and other social media services, according to the New York Times, "to harness their reach for diplomatic initiatives in Iraq and elsewhere." His overarching goal is to ensure that technology is leveraged as part of everything the State Dept. does, from counter-narcotics in Mexico to crisis response in Haiti to advancing social issues in Russia and enhancing democratic processes.

Cohen gave a lecture on Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's vision of 21st Century Statecraft. (He chairs the State Dept.'s Policy Planning Staff Working Group on 21st Century Statecraft). He discussed: how the Obama Administration's State Department is maximizing technology for diplomatic goals; how the State Department is using cutting-edge technologies to solve problems and respond to crises; how diplomats are leveraging digital networks to engage people and governments around the world; and how the State Department is promoting a free and open internet.


The Impact of the Information Age:
During the Cold War, people communicated principally through radio, through newspapers, and a small number of broadcast television networks. Today, there are literally millions of sources of information. People look at blogs; people have favorite websites; people get information from listserves, from smaller publications, as well now as from 200 TV channels. The State Dept. is seeking to be more nimble and reach people where they are, because as audiences are now able to get information from new and diverse sources, they're able to apply their specialized tastes and they just won't tune in to things that don't speak to them.

The Misuse and Denial of Internet Technology:
Thirty-one percent of the people on Earth live in countries with a censored Internet, and that goes directly to the question of what kind of world we want to live in. Do we want to live in a world with one Internet, where we can all draw from a common knowledge commons, where we all have access to the same information and opportunities, or is the information and the knowledge that you're able to attain based on what country you live in and based on what the censors in that country want?

Significance of Secretary Clinton's Speech on Internet Freedom:
The January speech was very important. It's essential that all of the globe's citizens have access to one open Internet. And if that's not the case, or if it is the case that countries are going to literally wall themselves off and censor their own little version of the Internet, then it's going to lead to fragmentation, and it's going to lead to significant foreign policy problems in the years ahead.

For more information on Ogilvy Exchange, please contact Ellen Birek, Ogilvy Washington, ellen.birek@ogilvypr.com.

Contact: Ellen Birek
Date: June 03, 2010
Office: Washington, D.C.